Microdosing Podcast w/ Ellen Wong – Microdosing and Befriending Death

In this episode we speak about death in the literal sense, but also about ‘other ways’ of dying and the parts of you that might need to die, as they stand in the way of your growth. And here’s where our sacred psychedelic allies come in! 

About Ellen Wong

Ellen is a Shandong-Taiwanese-American entheogenic death + grief companion that walks with people through the death portals of their life transitions. She works holistically across the physical, emotional and spiritual bodies using tools like breathwork, inner child somatic root healing, micro/macrodose journeying, and spiritual altar work.  

Microdosing Table Talk Episode 30

  • Ellen shares how she reached a turning point 30 years after the death of her father

  • When suppressed grief is finally surfacing

  • Getting called into stewardship through breathwork and the sacred mushroom

  • Grief as a complex, nonlinear process

  • Connection with ancestors through psychedelics

  • Overcoming our fear of death

  • Death and grief as portals for transformation

  • The advice to “die before we die”

  • A sweet and powerful death meditation

  • What are the gifts if you decide to work consciously with death portals and entheogens?

  • Ellen’s podcast and mentorship program

Disclaimer: Microdosing Institute is an information platform and a community with the sole purpose of providing education on microdosing. We do not encourage the illegal use of psychedelics. Even though we discuss the many benefits of microdosing, we do not claim that microdosing is proven effective as a medicine, medicinal aid or supplement, or that it could be seen as a replacement for conventional therapies or medicines.

Watch the full Microdosing Table Talk on Youtube or listen via your preferred podcasting platform.

Connect with Ellen

  • Death / Rebirth Private Mentorship Program: A 13-week somatic-focused walk together to confront the fears that block you from the life you desire. A $500 discount is offered to listeners – just mention the Microdosing Table Talk podcast during our discovery call. 
  • Website & Ellen’s Podcast: tripwithellen.com
  • Instagram @tripwithellen @mumthepod

Microdose with us

Transcript

Okay. So hi, Ellen. Welcome to the show today. Thank you for joining. 

Speaker 2
·
00:06
Thank you so much. It’s been such an honor to walk with you, really. I feel like I first got introduced to you through taking the program with Microdosing Institute and now yeah, it’s just such an honor to be able to sit with you and have this. 

Speaker 1
·
00:23
Yeah, yeah, it’s totally it’s the same here. I also feel like somehow a threat has been weaving since you were in our Immersive program and you started working with Social Ashi. And that’s how I also learned about the rest of your path from being a breath worker to a psychedelic guide, and now you’re professionally also walking the path of being a death companion. And I think this is a topic that definitely isn’t talked about enough. And I think it also requires a lot of courage from anyone to sort of engage in these type of conversations and wanting to learn more and wanting to know and change our relationship with death and life. So anyway, I’m more than excited that this all came together and it’s been with you, and so that now we’re here to dive into these topics. Super exciting. Yeah. 

Speaker 1
·
01:32
And also because, as I mentioned, death can be a bit of an unusual topic. And so I’m really curious what has led you onto this path of wanting to become a death companion using anthrogenic medicines also, which we might want to include here as well. 

Speaker 2
·
01:56
Absolutely. It’s very much part of that story. I really do feel like death chooses you very much in the same way that the medicine chooses you. I feel like for me, having experienced a death early in my life, my father passed when I was 15, and it was only just this year, in February, that I discovered that he actually died of the H one N one virus. And this is back in 1992 when I don’t think that was really well known or really a thing. And so he died in Taiwan, and my brother and I were flown over kind of very at the very last minute. We weren’t told that his life was in a life threatening situation. 

Speaker 2
·
02:44
And I feel like that’s a very Chinese thing to kind of keep the kids sort of in the dark for protection, really, just to protect them. And so I think it was the day that we actually finally got to see him in the hospital that he died that afternoon. And so I think just witnessing his death and then coming out of that experience, literally, I think he died on a Thursday. I was back in Houston, where I grew up with my brother, and by Monday I was back in school, and I remember seeing a friend of mine in the hallway, and he just looked so scared. We ran into each other as I was entering school. He had found out what had happened, and he just looked really nervous to see me. 

Speaker 2
·
03:36
And he just bursted out like, I’m sorry, and then just rushed out. And I just Remember in that moment feeling like, I don’t want anybody to feel that way. I don’t want anybody to feel uncomfortable around me. And So I Think for Me, that really was the first kind of like the beginning point of me really running away from and escaping grief. And you can only escape grief for so long before it really catches up with you. And I feel like 30 years later, literally 30 years later, after I left a career as a digital creative director and started on this path of building a self care business with a colleague of mine, that building of the business. 

Speaker 2
·
04:24
I thought I was completely diving into this new business venture, but really, I feel like the universe was actually pulling me into my own self healing. And I very much believe that my father is working in the background, kind of orchestrating this entire transition in my life, this death portal. It was very much like a dark night of the soul situation. And So, yeah, it was through one single breath work experience that I had that fall after leaving my career, where his spirit came to me and he basically just communicated that he didn’t want me to carry this Heaviness anymore. And I Don’t think I really realized until that point that there was so much Heaviness. I just thought that it was stress from work or all these other things, but that really kick started this whole journey into excavating my own grief. 

Speaker 2
·
05:20
And that’s where the medicine comes in, because I started working with a life coach who introduced me to Microdosing with a Sacred Mushroom. And that Led to a series of macrodose journeys in this beautiful mountain town called Idle Wild here in California that I now live in. And It Was Through These journeys that I really started to kind of uncover My grief and face this grief that I hadn’t allowed myself to face or that I was too scared to face. I Remember after the very first journey I had, I was Scribbling in my journal like crazy and Crying for 5 hours straight. It was almost like 30 years of just held back. Grief just was coming up to the surface. And the next Day, I read something that I wrote and I read it’s so scary to know who you really Are. 

Speaker 2
·
06:18
And I Think that really became the Cornerstone of my life from that point on. It’s really what sort of kind of guided me into learning how to guide Breath work. And I Think in that moment, I realized I’m meant to be a steward of the Sacred Mushroom. And they were calling me into service. They were calling me into Stewardship. And so interestingly that it was through this uncovering of my grief that they were calling me into this service. So at that time. I had no idea. I had no desire, I had no idea what death doula was. I had no idea what death worker was. But as the universe does, it just kind of leads you down these little paths and step by step. I found myself last year, just last year going, I feel really called to end of life care. 

Speaker 2
·
07:20
And it’s not like anything eventful happened last year, but I think in holding all of this and being where I was on my path at the point of last year, I suddenly realized, oh, this is why. This is why the medicine called me into service. This is what I’m meant to do. And there’s something so nourishing to me about talking about death and grief because it feels like something I’ve held back for so long. And so, yeah, it sounds crazy to say that out loud because there was a point in time where I was just like, get me as far away from death and grief as possible. And now I’m kind of like, I kind of can’t get enough. 

Speaker 1
·
08:07
Yeah, this is how also, I think you called it a portal also that yeah, we can go through these portals of transformation, but that’s how it’s meant to be. And my God, yeah, there’s a lot touch upon of what you just mentioned. I also want to highlight this initial reaction that you got at school, that the other schoolmates were just afraid and not knowing what sort of attitude to have, what a person needs after a loved one, a parent died, what a person needs, how to hold space, basically, or how to just be there. And that it’s just it becomes so awkward. And there is no way that society doesn’t offer us also anyways, it seems like from your story that also your family also did not offer the most appropriate spaceholding for this kind of experience. 

Speaker 1
·
09:09
So it seems like we’re all, as a society also a little bit, at least in many societies, western societies. Yeah, we’re a bit in the dark about all of this, and I think it makes us all very uncomfortable how beautiful that now you can turn this around and you can actually say no. I like to have these conversations like, bring it on. Bring on the uncomfort discomfort. Is that how you feel as well? 

Speaker 2
·
09:34
I do. I don’t want to say that I’m 100% like, oh, my gosh, let’s do it. This is super fun. But there is joy in it for me. And I think the joy is in the release of it, the release in the expression. And I think for so long, again, growing up Chinese in a very predominantly white neighborhood in Texas, I think there is this sense that and it’s cultural, that silence is strength. So I think my mother coming back from Taiwan, I really only saw her cry that day when she said goodbye to my dad in the hospital and then at the funeral when the casket was being wheeled out and she hugged the casket and just broke down and that’s when I broke down too. 

Speaker 2
·
10:31
So there’s this perception that if you hold back your emotions she was doing it for us, me and my brother. She was trying to be as strong as possible as a mother to shield us and to protect us. And so there’s this perception that if I don’t show my emotion, if I keep it together, if I swallow my pain, then they’re not going to feel my pain. And that’s exactly what I felt that moment when I saw my friend in the hallway, he saw me and was so terrified of confronting my pain that it became my biggest fear to show my pain to anybody else. And so it just ended up becoming locked inside of me. And you know how that goes, right? Yeah. 

Speaker 1
·
11:21
Whether it’s grief or any other emotion, right. When we lock it inside and it gets bottled up, it can really start to yeah, I’m always thinking of the jar where something is rotting and it starts to mold and it starts to create and at some point it just explodes, literally. 

Speaker 2
·
11:40
Right. 

Speaker 1
·
11:41
But yeah, I’m just thinking about this analogy. 

Speaker 2
·
11:43
That’s the best metaphor. 

Speaker 1
·
11:47
Yeah, but you came across the sacred mushrooms, right? Yeah. I’m also curious what that particularly brought and how did it help? And I think there’s a lot to unpack here also because in general, in the psychedelic space, whether it’s with microdosing or I’ve also been active in the space where retreats and therapeutic retreats were being done and it’s always about harm reduction and being very careful. And of course, if somebody is going through a grief period or experiencing relatively intense grief, then maybe you don’t want to bring up more of these emotions. So I think there are arguments, pro and con whether we should walk with the mushrooms or with any other psychedelic when this is also the case. But I’m just really curious to hear a little bit more about what happened for you there. 

Speaker 2
·
12:55
Yeah, thank you for that question because I agree, even as a facilitator and a companion of the mushroom, I feel like I often will just caution people if they’re deep in their acute grief. Like the grief is so fresh, it may not be the right time to dive into something. So to amplify that grief through that experience, I think for me, because it had been 30 years or so, I think it was almost like that was the perfect time for me to go in. Because what the sacred mushroom helped me do was they unlocked this lockbox of pain and emotion that had been trapped inside of my body. And because they are amplifiers, they brought all of that up to the surface. 

Speaker 2
·
13:55
So that first journey that I did, where I mentioned that I scribbled down the words, it’s so scary to know who you really are. There was so much excavation of that emotion, so much expression of that grief through crying, through just tears. There was one moment I remember being in that experience, I had no idea I was crying. It just was this constant stream, almost like a floodgate was opened. And it wasn’t all just sadness either. I think in that moment, I felt so much joy and sweetness in being able to feel the pain of it, feel the loss of this father that I really adored, who was kind of the representation of safety for me as a child and growing up. 

Speaker 2
·
14:52
And so when he died, it was like I remember thinking to myself, like, this sentence or this thought really has stayed with me. I feel like the rug has been pulled out from underneath me. And so that sense of stability and safety was suddenly gone in a moment. And it’s a sense of safety that I’ve been trying to reclaim through the rest of my life, through my work, becoming a workaholic, all the things, even being like a serial monogamist and being afraid of being alone and not having a partner, even if the relationship was toxic or had toxic behavior patterns. So I think in this very first journey, I just realized, like, wow, there’s so much that has been stored in my body that’s coming up. And it wasn’t a cognitive knowing, it was just this like, wow, I can feel again. 

Speaker 2
·
15:49
And I’m in the safe space with just my partner in the middle of the woods, and I’m able to feel all these feelings again. So for me, there was something very beautiful and relieving and glorious about finally confronting all of these feelings. And I think the subsequent journeys that year, I believe I went on six journeys that year, and it was just always the two of us, always here in idle wild, which is really interesting. It’s almost like the sacred mushroom kept on calling us back to this place. And each time I remember that series of journeys, there was a lot of discomfort that I had to move through, somatic discomfort. I remember feeling nausea whenever I was on those journeys in particular, which has faded since then. 

Speaker 2
·
16:46
But there was just so much, I think, that my body needed to purge energetically, that yeah, it was a lot of emotion. Like a lot of emotion. 

Speaker 1
·
16:58
Yeah. But also, some of the things you were just saying, it also seemed that it connected you, it reconnected you to certain parts of yourself that then yeah, I think I can only say that those parts also need to be alive in us. So I think there is a beautiful connection that your story shows it so well about how moving through grief and then being able to process it and moving through it and feel all the feelings, all those feelings come back online and you experience your own aliveness again. 

Speaker 2
·
17:36
Yeah, and I really found that the Mushroom specifically has taught me that grief and joy really are they’re like sisters. I feel like they’re intertwined, they can’t travel separately. And so I think when you start to unlock that grief and really, it does take bravery, it takes courage to be able to face it and gently lean into it and allow those frequencies, the feeling of those emotions to flow through you. And grief is so complex. Right. It’s not just sadness. There’s anger, there sometimes there’s shame, there sometimes there’s a lot of love and there’s also joy. I think that’s what was so surprising in those first series of journeys. For me, it wasn’t just straight sadness that needed to come up. 

Speaker 2
·
18:31
It was also the joy that I didn’t allow myself to feel by locking away my sadness or escaping my sadness or numbing my sadness. It was all of that. I believe that there was also a little bit of anger that was there that needed to be expressed, too, kind of this it’s a very inner child, like, why did you leave me? Kind of anger. Why did you abandon me? Anger. And that needed to be expressed too, through the tears. So, yeah, bittersweetness has become my favorite emotion because I feel like it’s the truest emotion. 

Speaker 1
·
19:15
Yeah, that’s beautiful. And I really love how you also explain how all these emotions are kind of linked up and they cannot exist without the other. But we do unconsciously try when we are suppressing some of these emotions. Can you just talk a little bit more about that complexity of grief? Because when I just think about a few cases that friends have been through, I’m sort of fortunate in this moment that I haven’t had experienced any sudden deaths of loved ones or very unexpected or very painful. But just thinking about just seeing what’s happening around me. There are so many different ways in which people pass and what they are leaving behind, how they are leaving their loved ones behind. There’s just so much complexity already in that, right. 

Speaker 1
·
20:12
Which also installs, then again, I think, fear in many of us about our own death or about our own, like, oh, I don’t want this, or oh, that would be horrible. Maybe let’s just dive in a little bit more into the complexity and how we can maybe better hold that. 

Speaker 2
·
20:30
Yeah. It is so complex and I feel like I’m still a student of grief. Like grief has become finally a teacher after all of this kind of inner work. And again, working with the Sacred Mushroom, there was a moment, a turning point, where I went from grief as my enemy to grief as my friend and my teacher. And so I think when you study grief from, like, don’t quote me on this, because I haven’t actually gone through and gotten a psychology degree, but when people study grief, there’s like this sort of linear progression that they talk about starting with shock and move through all these different emotions, right? 

Speaker 2
·
21:12
That is not really my experience of grief because I think in talking about it as this linear process, you kind of expect that there’s a beginning and an end, and that’s just not the way grief works. To me, grief is, again, a friend that stays with you for life, and it will come through at the most surprising moment sometimes. And I think when you’re in the first stages of grief, like when my father first passed, I feel like I spent the whole next day just in my room with the door shut, just laying on my bed, completely felt numb, like I felt a little bit numb. So I was probably in that what they describe as the shock state. But then there was moments of sadness where I’ll just ball up and start crying. And then again, anger. 

Speaker 2
·
22:07
And it’s so mishmashed together that you can’t really talk about these emotions separately. They’re all this big confusing ball of everything together. And so I think as you start to be with grief and heal, the healing is not about grief ever leaving. And I think that’s where there’s a lot of misconception, people don’t want to feel that pain anymore. And that’s completely valid. I think I’ve arrived again through this healing journey with a new perspective. Now where that pain again, the bittersweetness that pain reminds me of how much I love my dad and how much he is still very much a part of me. And in some ways, I feel like I don’t ever want that pain to go away. Just even last year, I had this beautiful opportunity to work with a teacher up in the Cascade Mountains. 

Speaker 2
·
23:06
And were learning about the herbs in this particular region. And there’s this one day she drove us to a meadow and she picked one little stalk of yarrow flower and just gave me an assignment. She’s like, Just walk in the opposite direction. I just want you to go on a little walk and take a little piece of the leaf, hold it in your mouth and just be with yarrow as a plant spirit. And so I did, and I was walking down this path in this meadow. It had gone through a burn, and so there was a lot of trees that had burned away. And so it was just this kind of open, beautiful meadow with, like, yarrow growing everywhere. 

Speaker 2
·
23:46
And as I held the leaf in my tongue, tasting the bitterness, it had this kind of like almost like licorice, but a bitter taste. And all of a sudden my heart just cracked open out of nowhere. It’s not like I was thinking about anything except just focusing on yarrow and the energy of yarrow. My heart cracked open and I just suddenly felt this outpouring of grief for my dad once again. And this is after all this grief work, after all, just being with Yarrow brought it out again. And I had no idea. It’s not like I was consciously thinking about him or anything, just this emotion passed through. 

Speaker 2
·
24:24
And so I just was walking and crying and holding this beautiful plant in my mouth and holding the flower to my heart and just grieving once again as fresh as almost like the day it had happened. And then the crying finally subsided. The grief the pain sort of subsided after a little while. And then as I was walking around this corner and this is a particular corner where the trees hadn’t been burned down, and so it felt like a hallway that I was going through, flanked by these beautiful plants, these trees, these flowers everywhere, and butterflies everywhere. And suddenly my heart cracked open yet again. And it was almost like I was being told, your father, your ancestors, your grandparents, everyone is here. In every one of these leaves. The wind that you’re feeling on your face right now, they’re there. 

Speaker 2
·
25:18
These butterflies are flowing around. They’re your family. They are in every single cell of what is surrounding you here. And then again, a fresh new downpour of tears just came at them, knowing that, oh, wow, they are not in the bodies that they used to be, but they are still here with me in nature, walking with me, guiding me along. And so if I didn’t feel that pain of grief anymore, I don’t think I would have these moments of just, again, profound joy and just love, like, love true, just pure love pouring out of me. The pain allows me to have those experiences. So that’s really what I want people to understand about grief. It’s not a bad guy. It’s not an enemy. 

Speaker 2
·
26:10
It’s a beautiful teacher if you allow it to be there with you, and if you open your heart to just observe. Observe when grief comes in, observe what wisdom grief brings to you. And it always brings something that you need to receive at that moment whenever it breaks through. 

Speaker 1
·
26:29
Yeah, this illustrated so beautifully that it really is here to bring us things. And this sense of love that is so much more powerful than you would have probably experienced if that pain wasn’t also there. And that whole grief process and also the presence of your ancestors, I just want to name that here because yeah, I think this is also something that the sacred Earth medicines are calling us to experience and we don’t always have. I think it does also require a little bit of we’re not always naturally connected to our ancestors. Depending on your culture, depending on your background, depending on maybe some of your traditions and practices and understanding. 

Speaker 1
·
27:23
But to know that this connection is there and that through nature, everything is related and we’re all part of the same, that we can experience that and that we can experience that in relation to our family, our loved ones, our ancestors. Yeah, I think this is very powerful. 

Speaker 2
·
27:46
Yeah, it was for sure a moment where I think I needed to be reminded that death is a transformative experience. And so, yes, your body transforms. Your body goes back to the earth, but that doesn’t mean that you’re completely gone. And I think I don’t know why, but ice melting is kind of like, coming into my mind now, melting into liquid, and just the transformation of the way water has all these different forms to it. I feel like we I think as spirits, we our energy does the same thing. And there’s moments where we are in this incredible, intelligent human body that lets us sense and experience all these incredible things, including love on a very physical level. And then once that’s gone, it doesn’t mean your spirit disappears, at least in my belief. It’s like that energy transforms into something else. 

Speaker 2
·
28:55
But I think you have to have the sort of the openness to be able to receive that, especially if you’ve had loved ones die and pass on. I think if I wasn’t open to experiencing my ancestors and my dad’s spirit through nature, I feel like I’d be missing out on so much. And I really do believe that I wouldn’t be doing the work that I’m doing today if it weren’t for them already. Just kind of guiding me along the entire way. There’s been several moments where my grandmother, also my nai, my paternal grandmother, has shown up, and she and I had never really had a super close relationship when she was alive. She was very much that maternal elder figure that you don’t really get cozy with, at least not in my chinese background. You have to kind of, like, respect your elders. 

Speaker 2
·
29:58
So I always saw her in that way. But again, through a sacred mushroom journey. What was fascinating is I was journeying with a friend, this time again one of those first six journeys here in idlewild. And my friend was with me, and were watching this beautiful moonrise, and maybe he did know he had this gift. I’m not sure. Maybe I think he was a little bit fearful of this gift, but he started to channel, and I was sitting next to him, and I had already started to kind of return back to my body and sort of come down, and at the same time, he was sort of peaking. He was rising, and all of a sudden, he told me that he saw this woman, and he described he’s like, she’s so serious. Why is she not smiling? 

Speaker 2
·
30:51
And it was absolutely in a heartbeat, I knew it was my grandmother that was there with him, and she was showing him that there was, like, a field of holes that she and my dad were working together to fill. And it was so beautiful just to receive this, again, with the assistance of the sacred mushroom I have come to realize through meditation, sitting and just communing with them that she’s very much a part of also my story now and why I am doing the work that I’m doing. I had no idea that she would be so present in this current life, but I feel even closer to her now than I ever did when she was alive. 

Speaker 1
·
31:38
Yeah, thanks for also bringing that up. That it seems that these separations start to with ancestors that are further away or that have passed long, that these separations start to dissolve a little bit and that you can actually access so much more of maybe the love. Maybe some of the intentions they had or the prayers they had for their offspring and for what would become of you guys as the next generations. Actually, that is really powerful. 

Speaker 2
·
32:13
Yeah, absolutely. 

Speaker 1
·
32:17
So I’m also curious to hear a little bit more about this work, as you call it, a death companion, right? Most of the time. Is there any difference between a death companion and a death doula? And yeah, maybe you can also just explain a little bit more in which ways you offer support and what it is that people need maybe in particular stages of this whole trajectory of befriending death. 

Speaker 2
·
32:47
Yeah. Thank you. I call myself a death companion because at the moment I received my training earlier this year and I’m a certified death doula, I have not had the honor yet of walking with somebody at the end of their life. And I really feel like I do feel like my mom might actually be the first person that I end up doing that for and show up for. I’m not totally sure. If the universe throws me an opportunity to walk with somebody, I would gladly take it because I truly think it’s like the biggest gift and honor that you could possibly be given. So I call myself a death companion because the work that I do with my clients is about walking through death portals. And I describe death portals as really any big life transition and I would say even small life transitions. 

Speaker 2
·
33:52
Anytime you are leaving something behind, whether it’s an identity, becoming a woman who hasn’t given birth to suddenly a woman who has given birth and now has a child becoming a mother, that’s a huge death portal that I think women go through when they give birth. And I know just from first hand experience, I’m not a mother myself, but my friends who I’ve witnessed becoming mothers, I see the challenges there. I see the struggles that they’ve each gone through in grieving this life that they had before and stepping into this new identity. And that’s just one of a bazillion other ways in which we die in our lives. My career, leaving my career, which was truly my entire life because I was such a workaholic at that time, I feel like my social circles, my network, everything. 

Speaker 2
·
34:58
Was defined by the fact that I was this executive creative director for this digital agency. And when I left that behind, I embarked on a two week long solo road trip, just slowly making my way from california back to houston, texas, to visit my mother and my brother. And I took my time on this trip. And through this trip, I really was sitting with my identity. It felt like I was going through an identity know? Like, who am I now? Now that I’m not a creative director anymore? What am I? I had just gotten married. Like just became a quote unquote wife of somebody, a life partner of somebody. What the hell does that mean? And so all these different transitions that we go through in life, that is really what I do as a death companion. I help people. 

Speaker 2
·
35:50
I witness people, and I walk with them through these transitions because there’s a lot of fear that comes up, fear of the unknown. And I think this fear of the unknown keeps us very stuck in where we are in our lives. And I think this fear of the unknown also. I’ve come to kind of reflect on this, and I’m still sitting with this and just pondering this. But after my death doula training, I was just looking at the fears that kept me from stepping forward. All the fears I encountered in my life, and every single one of them for me, laddered back up to a fear of death. I feel like a fear of death is always at the root of it. And I talk about abandonment now, which is one of my core wounds after the death of my dad. 

Speaker 2
·
36:44
But abandonment being this ultimate fear of death that probably comes back to when were tribal and when if you were ostracized by your community, by your tribe, that certainly meant death for you. And so over time, we developed these fears that now look a little bit differently, because we don’t exist in tribes anymore, but they’re still in our DNA. They’re still in our bodies and programmed in there fear of spiders, fear of heights. Like, truly fear of death, right? So if you look at all the fears that you encounter in your life, if you kind of went back to the root of those fears, to me, it always stems back to a fear of death. 

Speaker 2
·
37:32
So ultimately, I feel like as a society, as a culture, all of us are encountering this deep fear of death, which also is what causes this fear of aging, this desire, this need to hold on to our youth and to not get into the later years of our lives. It’s only in recent times that I’ve now started to realize, like, wow, I actually am kind of looking forward to my crone era, where I can be this wise woman and just very much adopt that identity, that persona. But for the longest time, finding 1 gy hair on my head was like, death. Like I’m like, oh, my God. Cover it up fast. 

Speaker 1
·
38:20
Yeah. It’s really like, we don’t want to transform. We just want to be there whenever we want to achieve something new. It’s like we want to be there, but we don’t want to go through the learning curve. We don’t want to grow old. Yeah. It’s the process that also really scares us, and I think it’s very much true that the question is really, how can we befriend those transitions and allow ourselves to discover and to feel whatever is being felt during that transition? Right. Because and again, I think the drawing, the parallel with grief, it’s also not a linear process. It’s also not very predictable. Like, yeah, we have to sometimes let go of things very suddenly. We get fired at a job, or we don’t understand why, what’s happening, but we just have to accept it. 

Speaker 1
·
39:15
And then other things are a very slow process or a nonlinear process. Yeah. I think this is what you mean with these portals, right? 

Speaker 2
·
39:24
Absolutely. Yeah. I feel like the mythologist Joseph Campbell, he calls it, like, being initiated, right, where you enter into that cave, and it takes you into the underworld. And through that underworld, you go through these trials, right, and you start to learn. You start to develop that resilience and that strength, and you start to emerge back up into the above ground, where you now see the world in a completely different way. And that’s what happens during these medicine journeys. We go into the underworld. We crawl into that cave to literally transform like a little caterpillar in a cocoon. And I feel like these death portals that we encounter in life, these transitions also offer us it’s the opening to the cave. It’s a portal for transformation. 

Speaker 2
·
40:17
And some of us choose to walk with the medicine, because in walking with the medicine, I feel like you start to learn how to be okay with the feeling of that transition kind of condensed down into a five to eight hour span. Right. You go through so much of that emotional roller coaster that is in those death portal transitions. And so the more I feel like you get used to feeling that. That is one of the benefits and one of the things that I love about walking with the sacred mushroom. It has allowed me to be a lot less fearful of these deaths in my life, these portals that I have to be ushered into or shoved through or like as you said, some of them come really fast and out of nowhere, and you’re not always prepared for them. 

Speaker 2
·
41:17
But what you can do is actually prepare your body by going through these journeys and experiencing that. And so when you do end up confronting a very sudden death portal, you’re a little bit better prepared. Like, you know, the feelings of it the feelings aren’t as unfamiliar. There’s still new territory, obviously, to travel, but it’s not quite as scary. 

Speaker 1
·
41:49
Yeah. It makes me think of this quote, and I think it comes from the book The Immortality Key, where the writer says, if you die before you die, you won’t die when you die. I don’t know if you’re familiar with the book. Yeah. And they talk also about the history of certain religions and spiritual traditions where also antheogenic potions were being used, but also other rites of initiation that yeah, of course, can give people this experience exactly what you’re describing, which prepares them for all the other death portals in life. And then the ultimate one is just one more. But then, yeah, I think that this is literally a very key concept for us to learn, but also to experience and to embody, because, of course, otherwise we’re holding on so much tension. 

Speaker 1
·
42:50
And I think this is also what we see in so many people now and in our society, that then it becomes a fear of being alive or we’re protecting ourselves against everything that could happen in life that actually is like just on the other side. It’s like the full aliveness and the full joy and the this is also something said by Joseph Campbell, I think he calls about the rapture of being alive, that is the true meaning of life. But if we keep on protecting ourselves and keep know, sort of holding on to what we know is true and where we are right now, and then, of course, we’re not going through any transitions and there’s no growth and there’s yeah, that aliveness doesn’t come in. 

Speaker 2
·
43:43
It’s so true. I love that you shared that. And thank you for mentioning that book, too, because it’s been on my list and you’re literally the fifth person that has mentioned that book to me. So I feel like, again, this is like the universe going, ellen, you have to read this. So that’s definitely next on my list. I was going to say that I lost my train of thought as I was thinking about the book. I was making a mental note to buy this book. 

Speaker 1
·
44:11
Well, we got that done. It’s also good. 

Speaker 2
·
44:14
Totally. Yeah. I was thinking, like when you said, you know, follow your bliss and the rapture of living, it’ll come back to me. 

Speaker 1
·
44:26
It’ll come was also I was happy that you brought up Joseph Campbell because it keeps coming up. And for me, also, it’s been really helpful, just on a personal level, just as we go through life, to understand. It’s not about searching for the meaning of life, but it’s about searching for the aliveness in me. And for me, being alive, that’s really what I should go after. Instead of finding the deeper meaning or trying to understand or trying to achieve some sort of spiritual goal or so I often ask myself the question, what makes me feel alive? Or feel that I am alive. And then it turns out that oftentimes I was just doing the opposite. So it really helps us to, I think, to calibrate and to navigate. 

Speaker 2
·
45:24
I. 

Speaker 1
·
45:24
Don’T know, just an intermeso here. And I really feel that micro dosing, for instance, but also micro dosing, of course, also really helps with that process. So sort of bringing you back to that aliveness and to like, oh, all that there is to feel here. 

Speaker 2
·
45:40
Yes, it awakens your senses, amplifies your senses in such a way, especially if you have been disconnected from your body for so long, it starts to kind of regroup those pathways again for you to feel. I wanted to mention. There was this one exercise that a lua arthur, who was the woman who I took this death doula training with. She gathered us in what was the sanctuary in our little retreat area, and she had us share. What is the one sensory experience in life that you will miss the most when you die? And just even hearing what people were sharing, it was the smallest moments. It was like somebody shared holding their kitten’s ears between their fingers and feeling their fur. Another person shared, like, smelling coffee, that coffee in the morning with the morning air. 

Speaker 2
·
46:38
Another person shared, like, just hearing the ocean, like, that sound of those waves, like, rolling in and out. And for me, suddenly I just realized how much I love food. I was just like, man, the salty crunchiness of fried chicken for me will always be like, oh, it’s just like such a burst of joy in every bite. And it’s these teeny, tiny, seemingly throwaway moments that I feel like where you truly find your aliveness. So I love that you brought that up because that’s really what it’s all about. And went through this death meditation, which I’m now trying to kind of sit with and work with. It’s based off of a Buddhist practice by this Buddhist scholar named Atisha, but it’s nine contemplations of death, and in doing so, you start to kind of confront where it is that you fear death. 

Speaker 2
·
47:39
And for me, I realized it’s the FOMO, it’s the fear of missing out, the fear of being in this body where I can experience things like fried chicken and the ocean and feel the sun on my face. And I think in that moment, it just brought me to tears hearing what everybody was sharing, because I felt it. I felt it so viscerally in my body, all of these things, all these feelings, these senses. And I realized when I don’t have this body anymore, I’m not going to be able to experience that. And that, to me, I think, is where my own personal resistance is. 

Speaker 1
·
48:16
Yeah, thank you for sharing that and for acknowledging that towards yourself. And what also came to mind for me here is because this was a meditation and you were with many people in the group. Right. And then to know that this is a shared experience, that everyone has these fears and everyone has these. In this case, it’s very personal. But then again, for everyone, this fear. 

Speaker 2
·
48:43
Is so real and so real. There were so many parents that were also in this training with me, and so for them, the FOMO looked like not being able to watch their kids grow up and go through these stages and go through these death portals and rebirths and not being able to help them, support them through it with their physical presence. So it’s so different for each one of us, like the tiny kind of like minute details of it. But you’re absolutely right. This fear is a collective fear. We all fear it’s the fear of the unknown. It’s a nervousness that I still feel every time I embark on a journey with a sacred mushroom. There’s a little bit of that butterflies and nervous excitement with a tinge of fear, like, I don’t know what I’m going to encounter. 

Speaker 2
·
49:39
And that’s kind of part of it. Right. That’s also what makes it so sweet, because you get to face that fear and walk into that portal, have your experience and come out of it going, wow, what I feared in here in my head was so much worse than what it actually was. And wow, look at the gift of what comes through when I do face that fear. 

Speaker 1
·
50:04
Yeah. Beautiful. Okay, so for one of our last in the last bit of this conversation yeah. I’m also curious to hear a bit more about what you’ve experienced and also with your clients. And you have a mentorship that lasts several months, but you also work regularly with small doses of mushrooms or psychedelics. And especially when we’re talking about confronting fears, confronting feeling all these emotions, how do you see the mushrooms or the psychedelics as a tool and also the companionship? Because yeah, I do think there’s a big difference here also whether you walk this path alone or whether you walk it with a companion, a guide. 

Speaker 2
·
50:59
Yeah. For me, I realized, I think in again, working with people and then also being mentored myself by Sochillashe, who’s part of the Microdosing Institute, I feel like the companionship is so vital. I almost want to say that’s, like, 95% of it, because I think we sometimes disregard the healing potency of just even being witnessed. Just in the witnessing, it brings to mind the observer effect and those scientific experiences of the changing of the particle. I feel like when you are witnessed, there is just this magical alchemy that can happen as opposed to you going solo on this journey. 

Speaker 1
·
51:59
Yeah. 

Speaker 2
·
52:02
Speaks to why in some of these medicine, their people become so potent. The witnessing is such a vital part of the medicine. So I just wanted to say that first, I have a mentorship program which is 13 weeks long, where I do companion people it’s called the Death and Rebirth Private Mentorship Program. And for 13 weeks, we basically reconnect to your body. And we start to face very gently these fears and lean into the fears that you may be feeling that are blocking you from fully stepping into a life that you really want, a life that you desire to make, the moves that you want to make, but perhaps are being paralyzed by fear. And so it’s a really powerful container. And I have found that the length of time in which you walk with a companion really matters. 

Speaker 2
·
53:04
There was a moment where I was doing these sort of one off breath work journeys and things like that, and I just felt that while there’s a lot of potent medicine that is given and received in those one off containers. You really need the sort of the benefit of time and the guidance of time to be able to really see transformation happening and to be able to experience that. And so that’s why I choose now to work with people over a longer span of time. And I bring the sacred mushroom into those containers for those who choose to walk with the sacred mushroom through microdosing, because again, they are such beautiful amplifiers and I really believe that they’re like sentient. They have their own intelligence, their own wisdom. 

Speaker 2
·
53:55
And whether I’m walking with them personally through microdosing or macro dosing, I’m always receiving exactly what it is that I need. And for the clients, the people I’ve had the opportunity to witness in these containers, whether it’s through my microdosing program or this mentorship program, when I see them coming through, it’s like their dreams sometimes become more vibrant and they receive insight. And it’s like this connection to their intuition, this connection to their inner wisdom, suddenly becomes clearer and more online, more accessible for them. And that to me, is like the most joyful thing that I can witness is seeing somebody not search outside of themselves for the answer, clinging on to somebody else for help and support, but just tuning in, tuning back into their body and to their own experience and realizing like, oh my God, I’ve had this all along. 

Speaker 2
·
54:57
I’ve had all of this all along. Oh my God, I’m so powerful. You know what I mean? What an incredible recognition. 

Speaker 1
·
55:05
Yeah. Oh my God, I can resonate so much with that. I also feel like this eternal student who’s always looking for the next piece of wisdom, the next learning, like in the outside world. And then it’s like, oh yes, and I can apply it to myself and I can use it in my work and oh, how great. But then when you go into silence, for instance, or when you just take that time out, you literally retreat a bit from life and all this stimuli and all the things you’re seeking out constantly, and you just listen. Then from within, there’s so many more greater gifts that were just exactly what you needed. 

Speaker 1
·
55:50
But I also want to acknowledge what you’re mentioning about having a companion or doing this with some mentoring to really keep on track and to keep it to where you need to be, to keep it relevant, to keep circling back and to have this witness also because, yeah, so many things can come up. And it’s also, I think, really important to then be health. And it doesn’t need to be a very sophisticated kind of coaching that needs to happen or it is really just being held and being understood. And then that allows you to keep unfolding and keep going where you need to go. 

Speaker 2
·
56:41
Yeah, absolutely. And that companion really provides a mirror for you, a very clear mirror. When I’m being mentored by SoChill, she is this clear mirror for me to be able to see myself through. And I think that’s really important too, having somebody to be able to reflect back to you exactly what they’re seeing, the wounds, as well as the many gifts that sometimes we have a really difficult time seeing. 

Speaker 1
·
57:12
Yes, totally. I think that’s another thing. Well, we could talk definitely another podcast about what happens when we engage in these processes. And it’s also a never ending journey, of course, but yeah, there’s so many ways in which we can. And what I really like of this conversation in particular, that also this confrontation with death and in all its ways in which it can manifest also in life, that it can be such a catalyst for growth. 

Speaker 2
·
57:48
Yeah, I think the worst thing is to leave this life with regrets. Regrets of things that you haven’t done or things that you didn’t say, that you wanted to say, opportunities that you chose to forego because of fear. The regret is so painful. And so if I can leave this life, leave this physical body without regret, that to me is that would be my greatest intention and pursuit. 

Speaker 1
·
58:20
Wow, that’s really powerful. I think this could apply to many people, I think, too, this is almost a universal one, but I’d never heard it before. So thank you so much for bringing that in. And then lastly, talking about no regrets, you also started a podcast which is just launching right now. Is that also part of one of those non regrets projects? 

Speaker 2
·
58:49
Absolutely. 

Speaker 1
·
58:54
Yeah. In more serious terms, I would love to know why does this podcast need to be out there. 

Speaker 2
·
59:01
Thank you. The podcast is called Mum and I named it Mum because of the chrysanthemum, which is the Chinese symbol for death and grief. And Mum keeping silent, which is absolutely my story, silencing my grief for so long. So the podcast is all about surfacing and uplifting stories of death and grief so that it can inspire us to all live loud. And I just feel like there’s many of us. I know I point to my Chinese ancestry quite a bit, but I feel like silence, as strength is actually very common. I think a lot of people I think you actually see it a lot in men, the men in our lives who have been sort of like coached and programmed and taught to keep their emotions to themselves or to keep it hidden down. 

And there’s so much healing that’s needed just even among the men of our community about showing emotion, allowing that emotion to surface. So the podcast is really about just giving space to all these myriad of stories that we all hold around death. Not just the death of a loved one or the death that you may be going through at the end of your life, but also all those many deaths that we talked about, all these different life transitions, identity transitions that we go through, the fear that we experience. I think the more we can talk about that fear and be very upfront about it and uplift that so that all of us know that we’re not alone in this, then we can be more equipped to it’s, really. Permission, I think the word permission really wants to come through. 

Permission to name that fear and to honor that fear and to share our story around meeting that fear and going through it to the other side. That’s really what the podcast is about. 

Yeah, well, I’m super excited to give it a listen and yeah, I’m grateful that you’re doing that. So, yeah, we have to wrap up. We’re really coming to the end of our time. But please share with us, where can people find the podcast and how can they connect with you for all of the other amazing work that you do. 

Yeah, thank you. So the podcast is on Spotify, it’s on Apple Podcasts, I Heart Radio, Amazon Music, all the major podcast portals and people can find me@tripwithelyn.com and Tripwith Ellen is also my Instagram handle. So, yeah, if you have a story that you want to share around your death and grief, please email me. You can email me at mum mu m@tripwithellen.com. I would love to feature you and your story. And if you’re interested in working with me through my mentorship program yeah, please sign up for a free discovery call on my website as well. 

Yes, thank you so much. And also exclusively for our community, ellen is offering $500 off her mentorship program. So I believe that is with a code, but maybe or with just mentioning Microdosing Institute was the referral and we’ll include all that information in the caption in the show notes. And yeah, just once more, thank you for doing all of this and for sharing also this really important, brave topic and part of your journey with our community. 

Yeah, thank you so much for having me and just thank you for the work that you guys are doing, too. It really is life changing and I just so appreciate knowing you and also being a part of that community, too. 

Yeah. We’re all in this together. We’re all walking each other home. Thank you so much. 

Absolutely. 

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